31 March 2012

Rhyme Time

Apparently I need a challenge to make sure I post regularly.  So, I am giving myself one, again.  April is National Poetry Month and I will be posting a poem a day.  Most of them will be children's poems, but some will not.

Though I was an English major, poetry is not my thing.  I was one of those who had any love of poetry that was in me thoroughly crushed in high school, then college, English classes.  But, to be honest, there wasn't much poetry love there to start with, so the crushing process was fairly simple.  I am a realist ( I resist the pessimist label) -- give me a good ole American Realism novel by Twain or Dreiser any day over an obscure line of verse.  The darker the better.

I have rediscovered poetry since I began teaching, children's poetry anyway.  I have even been meeting with some students this year in a Haiku club and have planned events at school to celebrate National Poetry Month. So I will be posting some of my favorite poems over the next 30 days, and some that I will discover as I am sure I will run out of poems by the middle of the month.  And I will try to make sure I am not just going through our collection of Shel Silverstein poems -- variety is the spice of life after all.

This idea came to me after I read to Isaac from Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends, which contains my overall favorite poem from my childhood.  (You will have to check back each day to find out which one it is.)  The last poem I read was "Merry . . ." (pg 164).

No one's hangin' stockin's up,
No one's bakin' pie,
No one's lookin' up to see
A new star in the sky.
No one's talkin' brotherhood,
No one's givin' gifts,
And no one loves a Christmas tree
On March the twenty-fifth.

The night I read that to Isaac was March 25th. Hmmmmmm.  If I weren't such a realist/pessimist, I might have taken that to be some kind of sign.  Instead, I just decided to challenge myself to post a poem a day.  So, let's get started  . . . . and feel free to share some of your favorite poems as the month progresses.

30 March 2012

Something Different

During Lent, our pastor challenged us (as in the entire church membership, not just our family) to look for the Laughter of Love in places that are outside our normal sphere.  We were supposed to go somewhere or do something that we had never done before or do not do often, and we had to be an active participant.  He calls these experiences "Cultural Pilgrimages."

I have no problem, usually, going someplace new.  It is the "active participation" that I get hung up on.  I am an introvert and am more comfortable observing from the sidelines or the back of the room than I am being in the thick of things.  But I did try . . . .

For those who know us, reading here that we are not a basketball family is not a surprise.  We are from SEC country and football reigned in the town where Matt and I met.  Moving to Greensboro 15 years ago and realizing that finding an SEC football game on the TV was nearly impossible was true culture shock.  And we haven't been converted.  There have been a couple of years that our team made it to the NCAA Championship (and won) and we followed along and were excited about their success, which we basked in and gloated over as well as any Duke or UNC fan.  But then it was over and I just didn't care anymore.  I barely register each year that the ACC finals are played in the town where we now live.  But this year, Isaac brought home a coupon for buy one get one ticket free for the Women's ACC Tournament semi-final games.  Matt was out of town that weekend and I wanted to do something with Isaac that was kind of special and different, so to the semi-finals we went. 

I knew our tickets were for both games and I didn't really know if we would make it through.  But Isaac loved it.  We have no allegiance to any ACC team and Isaac picked the team we routed for based on their uniform or their mascot.  He intently watched the game, tried to catch t-shirts, ate his way through a bag of kettle corn, and was surprisingly settled during the hours we sat watching the action on the court.  Unfortunately, both teams we chose to support lost. (If you want to be sure your team is going to win, make sure we route for the opponent -- works every time.)  I am not a basketball convert now (I could have left after 90 minutes -- 4 hours of basketball is a lot!), but I loved sitting with Isaac, talking about the game and spending time with him that was relaxed and removed from the everyday worries over getting homework done or running to the next practice or going to bed at a reasonable time.

So does this meet the requirements of the "Cultural Pilgrimage" as defined by my pastor?  I don't know.  It is definitely something I wouldn't normally do, especially if Matt is not dragging me along.  I wasn't a participant in the game, but I cheered along with the crowd and waved my hands for the free t-shirts (because Isaac really wanted one).  I spent time with my son and watched him enjoy an experience that was new and exciting.  That is what I value about the day.

Since we had watched the semi-finals and actually knew what teams would be in the finals on Sunday, Isaac and I sat down to watch the last game of the tournament after church.  Once again, the team we routed for lost (I'm tellin' ya -- fool proof system).  But it was a nice ending to the weekend, for us at least.

04 March 2012

A Seussical Week

Friday was Dr. Seuss' birthday.  It was also Read Across America Day.  I haven't planned any school-wide activities for this day the past few years.  Just didn't have the energy.  But this year I wanted to try and get some fun activities planned for the students.  So a few weeks ago I sat down with a couple of other teachers to map out a plan for daily themes to catch the students' attention.

Monday was Silly Foot Day.  I wore my orange flame tights in honor of the occasion.  Tuesday was Sparkle Word Day.  I made a glittery sign with the word OBFUSCATE boldly glued on the front.  Wednesday was Cat in a Cap Day.  I decided to go stylish in my black fedora rather than wear the tall red and white striped hat all day.  Thursday was Oh the Places You'll Go Day and I proudly wore my LIBRARIAN t-shirt.  Friday was Blue Ribbon Day.  I wore a blue shirt and blue jeans.  Caldecott Books took center stage on Friday.

Each day I displayed books that fit in with the theme of the day for students and teachers to check out.  One difficulty with stretching the celebration out to a full week is that the Dr. Seuss books were all checked out by Tuesday morning.  Students who came in on Friday looking for Cat in the Hat were disappointed.

The activities were a nice break from the regular school routine.  The kids had fun and I think the teachers did, too.